Species richness and wood production: a positive association in Mediterranean forests

Authors

  • Montserrat Vilà,

    Corresponding author
    1. Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC), Avd/María Luisa s/n, Pabellón del Perú, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
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  • Jordi Vayreda,

    1. Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Lluís Comas,

    1. Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Joan Josep Ibáñez,

    1. Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Teresa Mata,

    1. Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Berta Obón

    1. Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
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* E-mail: montse.vila@ebd.csic.es

Abstract

A major debate in the study of biodiversity concerns its influence on ecosystem functioning. We compared whether wood production in forests was associated with tree functional group identity (i.e. deciduous, conifer or sclerophylous), tree species richness (1–≥ 5) and tree functional group richness (1–3) by comparing more than 5000 permanent plots distributed across Catalonia (NE Spain). Deciduous forests were more productive than coniferous and sclerophylous forests. Wood production increased with tree species richness. However, functional group richness increased wood production only in sclerophylous forests. When other forest structure, environmental variables and management practices were included in the analysis, tree functional group identity and species richness still remained significant, while functional species richness did not. Our survey indicates that across a regional scale, and across a broad range of environmental conditions, a significant positive association exists between local tree species richness and wood production at least in typical early successional Mediterranean-type forests.

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